Research shows the Benefits of Montessori

For over 100 years, Montessori schools around the world have used the methods and materials developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in Rome in 1906.

It’s exciting to have modern research confirm what we have seen in our Montessori classrooms for the last century: Montessori education leads to children with better social and academic skills.

Dr. Angelina Lillard tested children who attended a Montessori school, and other children who did not, for their cognitive and academic skills, and for their social and behavioral skills.

“We found significant advantages for the Montessori students in these tests for both age groups,” Lillard said. “Particularly remarkable are the positive social effects of Montessori education. Typically the home environment overwhelms all other influences in that area.”

Among the 5-year-olds, Montessori students proved to be significantly better prepared for elementary school in reading and math skills than the non-Montessori children. They also tested better on “executive function,” the ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems, an indicator of future school and life success.

Montessori children also displayed better abilities on the social and behavioral tests, demonstrating a greater sense of justice and fairness. And on the playground they were much more likely to engage in emotionally positive play with peers, and less likely to engage in rough play.

Dr. Lillard, in her book Montessori: The Science Behind The Genius, discusses the eight insights that are foundations of Montessori education:

  1. Movement and cognition are closely intertwined.
  2. Learning and well-being are improved when people have a sense of control.
  3. People learn better when they are interested in what they are learning.
  4. Extrinsic rewards negatively impact motivation when the reward is withdrawn.
  5. Collaborative arrangements are conducive to learning.
  6. Learning in meaningful contexts is richer and deeper than learning in abstract contexts.
  7. Respectful adult interactions are associated with ore optimal learning.
  8. Order in the environment is beneficial to children and learning.

Dr. Lillard describes how these insights are applied in a Montessori classroom.

For more info: Read the book for deeper understanding of what happens in a Montessori classroom and, more important, why it happens and why it works. The studies in this book show how children learn best, and illustrate why many traditional practices are ineffective. You’ll discover the science behind the genius that is embodied in the Montessori materials and methods of teaching. A new DVD summarizes the insights, and provides outstanding material for parents or for teachers who need professional development hours. Read more articles about Dr. Lillard’s research.



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Preschool Benefits!



”Preschool offers many benefits — it can be a great place for kids to interact with peers and learn valuable life lessons such as how to share, take turns, and follow rules. It also can prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

But going to preschool does come with its fair share of emotions, for both the parent and the child. For a kid, entering a new preschool environment filled with unfamiliar teachers and kids can cause both anxiety and anticipation. Parents might have mixed emotions about whether their child is ready for preschool.

Spend time talking with your child about preschool even before it starts. Before the first day, gradually introduce your child to activities that often take place in a classroom. A child accustomed to scribbling with paper and crayons at home, for example, will find it comforting to discover the same crayons and paper in his or her preschool classroom.- Stay positive:)

Visiting your child’s first preschool classroom a few times before school starts can also ease the entrance into unfamiliar territory. This offers the opportunity to not only meet child’s teacher and ask about routines and common activities, but to then introduce some of those routines and activities at home.(Big routine) While you’re in the classroom, let your child explore and observe the class and choose whether to interact with other kids. The idea is to familiarize your child with the classroom and to let him or her get comfortable. While acknowledging this important step your child is taking and providing support, too much emphasis on the change could make any anxiety worse. Young kids can pick up on their parents’ nonverbal cues. (stay calm)When parents feel guilty or worried about leaving their child at school, the kids will probably sense that. The more comfortable you are about your decision and the more familiar the setting can be made for your child, the fewer problems you — and your little one — will encounter.”

With the overall success its routine and consistency. 

Feel free to ask all/any questions anytime! I love to help and give my own experiences with in children’s transitions to school.

Love, Celeste

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Toilet learning and language!

Toilet Learning vs. Toilet Training

toilet learning toilet trainingToilet learning differs from Toilet training. Child toilet training is something that is adult directed; toilet learning is when the child is involved in their own learning. Toilet training may involve a time pressure on your child which seems to be a quick fix but may have consequences. Toilet training involves an attitude of having to do it now because the adult chooses so. The difference between toilet learning and toilet training is the adult’s attitude which can make a big difference for the child.


Toilet learning starts with readiness signs, and is not learned through a reward system. Toileting is a skill that needs to be learnt. It cannot be taught overnight. The key to toilet learning is teaching not training the child. Learning on their own is reward enough for them to be able to independently help themselves in remaining clean or not soiling themselves. Allow the child to learn on their own with a bit of support and help from the adult with the use of toilet training pants and clothes they can independently put on themselves. Toilet learning is linked to the child’s self-esteem, so genuine verbal praise is important. There are no ‘accidents’ during toilet learning, only lessons. Language also plays a big part in keeping a positive attitude with toilet learning.

Adult Attitude and Points to Consider in Toilet Learning

It is important to decide if you are ready to commit to the process and all it entails, this could include loads of washing, wet or soiled carpets and what people may think if you child is not toilet ready by a certain age. More often than not it requires months of learning for the child and it is important to have and maintain a positive attitude and avoid putting a time period or the age you wish your child to be toilet trained. It is possible that children will develop manipulative actions regarding toileting (e.g. wetting self on purpose) if they believe it will affect your behavior. Every child is different and toilet ready at a different age, these are some tips to help the process and explain the rationale behind the method. However, it is up to you which toilet learning or toilet training approach you think suits you, your child and your lifestyle.

The Montessori Toilet Learning

The Montessori approach to toilet learning is to begin at birth and by using cloth nappies. Once the child is walking they transition into cloth underpants, wearing underpants at this stage in the child’s development also aids movement as nappies can be restrictive. The child will sit on the pot or small toilet when they wake in the morning, awake from naps, before and after all meals, before and after excursions and before bed. It is central to the approach that babies are kept in natural cotton or soft wool diapers or underpants. Disposable diapers/ nappies draw moisture away from the skin rapidly, whereas underpants allow the child to feel the moisture and learn to recognize the result of urinating (the wet sensation). The children then learn to associate this sensation to the result of being wet instead of conflicting results as experienced in disposable diapers/nappies.

When your child is a still young make it a habit to change their nappy when they have been soiled so he/she does not get used to the feeling of being soiled but being always clean. Soon they will be used to the clean feeling that if they are soiled they will let you know in some way.

All children are put on the potty after each nappy change. Often they feel the sensation of urinating or passing a bowel motion but don’t feel the end product because of super absorbent disposable nappies. A child is physiologically ready to use the toilet at 12 months but with the use of disposable nappies a child usually starts at two to two and a half years old. Introducing a potty as young as 12 months to just to get the child used to it as a part of toileting routine, before the power struggle starts or as we say in the under threes movement- the crisis of self-affirmation (tantrums). It doesn’t take long to associate the potty with regularly urinating once they feel the potty under their body. They are not yet toilet trained but they’re definitely going through the process of learning.

The regular use of the potty allows the children to become familiar and comfortable with both the toilet and potty. It is a positive experience and the children enjoy exploring the environment. This allows the children the freedom of movement so that they can teach themselves to move on and off the potty/toilet at their own learning pace, additionally this allows the child to be more independent.

Clothing for Toilet Learning

We recommend that all clothing be two piece set during this learning process. The bottoms should be elastic waist allowing the child to independently pull up their own trousers/skirt. Also this allows the child to pull down cloths quickly if they need to use the toilet urgently. There are toilet training pants that can be bought that are made of thick fabrics, terry toweling so the moisture is absorbed but still lets the child feel the wetness. Underwear needs to be cotton and elastic should not cut off any circulation, be sure to buy appropriate sized underwear to allow for ease of dressing the self. Plastics are plastic covers placed over underpants and are used for outdoor play they will sometimes protect clothing form getting wet but still allow the child to feel the sensation.

Toilet Learning and Language

It is important that children understand the language you use during toilet learning. Quite often there is some embarrassment in using certain words, remember to consider you attitude when interacting with children, if you are embarrassed talking about certain body part or bodily functions your child could also learn this attitude. Using the toilet is an everyday event and being comfortable explaining the process and body parts to children is important as it is a natural part of our lives. It is important to feel comfortable using adult words around children like to describe body parts and functions. This ensure that your child will not have to use ‘baby words’ (e.g. wee and poo) and demonstrates that you see your child as a capable toilet learner.

We recommend considering your language when inviting children to use the toilet always keep it clear, direct and positive, for example “You may go and sit on the toilet/ potty” if the child refuses maintain positive language “you need to sit on the toilet so that you can urinate”. Never force a child on the potty or toilet against their will or use language in a negative way saying they “must sit on the toilet”. When a child urinates on themselves try not to refer to this as an ‘accident’ tell them “you have urinated we need to sit on the potty when we urinate” making sure to sit the child on the potty after the event and change wet underpants. Always remain calm and in control of emotions model this behavior for the child.

Signs of Readiness Checklist

Physical Readiness

– Child can stay dry for longer periods of time, or overnight
– Child knows the feelings that signal he/she needs to use the bathroom
– Child can pull down own pants, and pull them up
– Child can get him or herself to the toilet

Mental and Language Readiness

– Child can follow simple directions
– Child can point to wet or soiled clothes and ask to be changed
– Child pays attention to the physical signals even when she is doing something else (a challenge for many children, which is why accidents are so common)
– Child knows the words for using the toilet, and can tell an adult when he/she needs to go
– Child has asked to wear grown-up underwear

Emotional Readiness

– Child seeks privacy when going in diaper
– Child shows interest in using the toilet-may want to put paper in and flush it
– Child shows curiosity at other people’s toilet habits
– Child has decided he/she wants to use the toilet
– Child is not afraid of the toilet

Bowel Movement Control

In toilet learning urination is often the focus; this is usually because it is a much harder skill to control liquids rather that mass. However, in many children bowel movement control occurs much later. There are many individual factors that can contribute to this including physical, emotional and mental readiness.

Bowel movement control often happens before urinary control. If they are regularly going to the toilet to urinate, chances are they may have a bowel movement while urinating.

It is for this reason that boys should preferably sit instead of stand during the first stages of toilet learning until they have mastered bowel movements. Every child is different in learning this skill; many children are aware of when they are having a BM but will often be shy in telling an adult or not know what to do. It is important to build up trust and reassure the child that everything is ok. Many children who are showing signs of readiness will want to ask questions and look at what is happening while you are changing their BM. It may be helpful to talk the child through what is happening in their bodies and include them in the process as much as possible. Many children have Bowel Movements at the same time each day; this predictability can be used as a tool in helping the child succeed in BM control. Writing a chart of times the child is likely to have a BM and looking for other signs (body posture and facial expression) can help signal that the child should sit on a potty or toilet. It also helps chart the frequency of the child’s BMs, on occasion if the child is feeling anxious about passing BMs they may hold them and become constipated.



There should be no pressure put on children to be toilet trained. Toilet learning is a natural process and should be done at a pace the child is comfortable with. Allowing children to become aware of their bodily functions from the sensitive period of development allows for less distress when the child is older and more physically able to control their toileting abilities. Please remember although the child is urinating in their underpants they are not ‘failing’ at toileting rather learning the sensation to need to go and the discomfort of having wet underpants. This is part of the learning process that is Toilet Learning.

Toileting Routine

Wake time the child is allowed to sit on the potty after the diaper/nappy is removed from the night. He/she is then put in training pants/ underpants. When the child is going outdoors, or going to the shops/mall you then might want to put on nappies/diapers for convenience. When the child gets older then maybe even for going out plastic coverings over underpants may be used. Constantly ask the child to go the toilet if they need to. Sit them on the potty when they wake in the morning, before going anywhere outside of the home, before and after sleep time and after meals. Ask them nicely, if they refuse say “You need to go to the potty”. If they are comfortable with the potty, they may refuse less often. Remember if they wet themselves, it is okay. Just reinforce to them verbally that they need to urinate on the potty or toilet. If your child is dryer for long periods of time and going to the potty on a frequent basis this can be time for you to move on the toilet learning process and fully get rid of the nappy/diaper.


Bottom line routine, consistency and patience will = happy outcome 🙂 – Celeste

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How Can Montessori Teachers Meet the Needs of So Many Different Children?

How Can Montessori Teachers Meet the Needs of So Many Different Children?.

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Understanding the Guide of a Teacher!

Understanding the Guide of a Teacher!.

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Filming with Guliana And Bill!

Filming with Guliana And Bill!.

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Montessori -Great READ

Montessori -Great READ.

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Montessori -Great READ

Common Misconceptions about Montessori Education

1. Montessori is just for preschool children.

While the majority of Montessori schools in the United States are preschools, Montessori programs exist at age levels from birth to fourteen.

2. Montessori is just for special learners—the gifted or the learning-disabled.

The methods used in Montessori schools are highly effective with both learning-disabled and gifted learners; the reason for their effectiveness, however, is that the learning environments have been designed to ensure success for all children.

3. Montessori schools are religious.

Many private American Montessori schools do have a religious orientation because it is such a common practice in America for private schools to have religious support. But Montessori itself is not religiously oriented and finds itself quite at home in public settings where religious instruction is inappropriate.

4. Montessori is only for the rich.

This misconception is due to the fact that the American Montessori movement that began in the 1950s was primarily a private preschool movement, supported by tuition. Now, however, Montessori education is available at approximately 200 public schools in the U.S. in addition to about 4,000 private schools.

5. Children in Montessori classrooms are relatively unsupervised and can “do whatever they want.”

Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If the child is being destructive or is using materials in an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the material.

6. Montessori is a cult.

Montessori is part of the educational mainstream, as evidenced by growing numbers of graduate level programs in Montessori education (such as those at Cleveland State University and New York University) and the increasing popularity of Montessori in the public schools.

7. Montessori classrooms are too structured.

Although the teacher is careful to make clear the specific purpose of each material and to present activities in a clear, step-by-step order, the child is free to choose from a vast array of activities and to discover new possibilities.

8. Montessori is against fantasy; therefore, it stifles creativity.

The fact is that the freedom of the prepared environment encourages creative approaches to problem-solving. And while teacher-directed fantasy is discouraged, fantasy play initiated by the child is viewed as healthy and purposeful. In addition, art and music activities are integral parts of the Montessori classroom.

9. Montessori classrooms push children too far too fast.

Central to the Montessori philosophy is the idea of allowing each child to develop at his or her own, individual pace. The “miracle” stories of Montessori children far ahead of traditional expectations for their age level reflect not artificial acceleration but the possibilities open when children are allowed to learn at their own pace in a scientifically prepared environment.

10. Montessori is out of date.

While appropriate changes have been made to the original Montessori curriculum (including the introduction of computers and modifications to the Practical Life exercises to keep them culturally relevant), the basic pedagogy has not changed much since Dr. Montessori’s  lifetime. Contemporary research and evaluation, however, seem to be confirming Montessori’s insights.

Montessori is based on the principle of free choice of purposeful activity. If the child is being destructive or is using materials an aimless way, the teacher will intervene and gently re-direct the child either to more appropriate materials or to a more appropriate use of the materials.

Prepared  by   Distributed by  http://www.Montessori CW

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Filming with Guliana And Bill!

Filming with Guliana And BIill!

Welcome to Montessori CW and a thank you to the E! team.

– Celeste Valenzuela, Director

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Understanding the Guide of a Teacher!

 The Montessori method places great importance on the child’s natural and self-directed interactions with the environment, and the role of the teacher is more as a facilitator or guide, maintaining a safe and carefully maintained space in which the children can engage. Montessori even likened the teacher to a “servant” of the child’s spirit, who carefully meets all of his or her true needs, not in the sense of doing everything for them, but of making sure they have at their disposal all the tools necessary for their work. The goal is for the children to become so independent and self-directed in their work, that the teacher can fade into the background more or less completely. In Montessori’s words, the “greatest sign of success for a teacher … is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.” – Montessori Teacher

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